SEO Anxiety? Aren’t Results Instant?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a vital part of your Web marketing best practices. We’ve done enough audits for clients on SEO campaigns and their SEO strategies, and the companies that implement SEO projects to notice an interesting factor. We call this SEO Anxiety. It happens just about a day or two after an SEO campaign or project concludes and often several weeks later. SEO Anxiety is usually found at senior management levels by CFO’s, CEO’s and SVP’s who know an SEO project, perhaps very expensive, is underway. So what is SEO Anxiety?

Simply put, it’s the expectation of almost instantaneous results and massive domination of the top listings under a particular targeted keyword or search term. A good SEO campaign will deliver relatively quick results, but not instantly and sometimes not for a few weeks. With the speed of the Web and how fast information can fly across the Web, especially with a negative story, those who don’t live and breathe SEO have a perception of such programs showing immediate results and effect. When an organic and technical SEO program is combined with a Pay-Per-Click, and Social Media campaign, SEO results can occur much faster. If your SEO work is just organic and technical in nature, then results can take upwards of 2-3 weeks or longer.

Much also depends on the nature of your business. Sometimes, your efforts are better spent targeting your niche in social media areas such as blogs and forums, where they can be more effectively reached. Either way, top rankings may not occur for a few days, since it may take time to displace competitors and other sites who have been enjoying good placement. If your space is highly competitive, it is also likely your competitor is hard at work with their SEO efforts trying to knock you down. There are enough good SEO firms and practitioners that your competitors may also hire. Your competitor may also be outspending you on Pay-Per-Click campaigns (you can find this out in the keyword and term auctions.)

So your senior management may find you ranking high one week, yet falling the next. This is when SEO Anxiety kicks in and this often when we get a call to conduct an audit or evaluate a PPC project as an independent firm. Our initial strategy is to speak directly with the C-Level executive that is looking to retain us, and the manager responsible for the SEO project to determine when it was implemented. Sadly we more often than not talk ourselves out of a project. We recommend setting expectations clearly and in simple terms with senior managers on what the anticipated results are and project objectives and timelines for results.

This will enable smoother projects and mitigate the risk of SEO Anxiety and enable a closer working relationship between senior marketing, finance and operational executives.

As a final note, in any SEO project it is not a one off effort. Competitors, search engine changes, content etc … Can all affect the way you appear on a search engine. SEO is an ongoing process in most cases, especially if your operating in a competitive market.

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